The Kuk World Heritage site in Western Highlands in Papua New Guinea (PNG) was launched this past June after ten years of struggling to revive the historical site.
The Kawelka tribe, who are the custodians of the land on which the site is located, through their association, Kuk Kawelka Incorporated Land Group (ILG) invited all stakeholders in Western Highlands to witness the occasion.
ILG chairman Michael Tori said the main motive is to revive the renowned site and bring economic development into Ku Baisu area, Western Highlands and the country. Tori outlined that Kuk has tourism, agricultural and scientific significance that they want to utilize to create economic benefits for the country.
Kuk Early Agricultural Site consists of 116 ha of swamps in the western highlands of New Guinea 1,500 metres above sea-level. Archaeological excavation has revealed the landscape to be one of wetland reclamation worked almost continuously for 7,000, and possibly for 10,000 years.
It contains well-preserved archaeological remains demonstrating the technological leap which transformed plant exploitation to agriculture around 6,500 years ago. It is an excellent example of transformation of agricultural practices over time, from cultivation mounds to draining the wetlands through the digging of ditches with wooden tools.
Kuk is one of the few places in the world where archaeological evidence suggests independent agricultural development and changes in agricultural practice over such a long period of time.
In 2008 UNESCO listed Kuk Swamp as a World Heritage Site. To ensure that they do not destroy the integrity of the archaeological site, modern farming activities have been maintained at a low-key. Archaeologists who have worked on the site have ensured that the scientific work and the excavations on the site comprise the highest international professional standards. Contemporary land use is restricted to only modern incarnations of the old methods.